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Plea to end harassment of Baloch journalist

May 02, 2008

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ISLAMABAD, May 1: Reporters Without Borders has called upon the government to take steps to end the harassment of Munir Mengal, one of the promoters of a proposed Balochi satellite TV channel, ‘Baloch Voice’.

Freed in February after being held for two years by law-enforcement agencies, Mr Mengal is still facing threats to his life.

“Instead of watching and intimidating this man, who spent two years in detention just for wanting to create a TV station for the Baloch, the authorities should give him financial compensation,” said the press freedom organisation.

“This case should prompt the government to look into many kidnappings and disappearances of journalists, especially those from Balochistan.”

“I still fear for my life,” Mengal said in an interview to the BBC World Service. “Intelligence agents continue to follow me wherever I go. I am afraid for my life. They prevent me from speaking and writing.”

He said he was freed on Feb 23 after a new government was elected in Balochistan.

As requested by security forces, he decided to refrain from immediately announcing his release for fear of being re-arrested. He is now living in Kalat.

After his arrest at the Karachi airport on April 4, 2006, he was allegedly held in a military camp in Malir.

He said the military kept asking him why an educated Baloch like himself continued to support the nationalists.

He said he was subjected to torture, but he always insisted that he was innocent.